Friday, September 06, 2013

Qatar Foci, Costa Rica vs. USA, Other Qualifiers, Pompey Rises (that photo), Friday Forecast

Friday! Let's do this.

Tonight's the Night for the U.S. Men. They're down in The Rica in rather unwelcoming environs to take on The Ticos, who are still pissed about the SnowClasico. Shit goes both ways, bitches. Here are some keys to victory for The Yanks. And here's your full preview. Grant Wahl is looking at Icelandic-American forward Aron Jóhannsson. Jeff Carlisle filed a report as well. Check the match at 10pm EDT on BeIN Sport.

It's not just the Costa Ricans and the Americans in action today. Over in CAF, there are seven spots in Brazil up for grabs. Jonathan Wilson blesses the rains down in Africa here. In UEFA, matches of note include Serbia/Croatia, Scotland/Belgium, Ireland/Sweden, and Italy/Bulgaria. And Liechtenstein/Greece. (cough). Down in CONMEBOL we're looking at Chile/Venezuela and Colombia/Ecuador. Tim Vickery is down there and takes a gander. Back in CONCACAF, Mexico will be mighty nervous at home against Honduras.

We'll use any excuse to bring this old favorite back...
David Conn is one of The Guardian's top scribes. He's got a piece today on Portsmouth and how they managed to stay alive and are now owned by supporters: Pompey became the only club to collapse into administration while still in the Premier League when, in 2009, the Russian-Israeli owner, Sacha Gaydamak, pulled the funding which had won Harry Redknapp's star-stocked team the 2008 FA Cup on a wave of borrowed money.

It IS Friday, after all, and that means we've got an MLS Forecast. Yes, although pretty much every other domestic league takes a break for the Internationals, ours does not. Quite pleasant in the Northeast, though...
Sorry, we digress.

To more serious matters. France Football's Philippe Auclair has a three-part special report into Qatar's controversial hosting of the 2022 World Cup. In part one, he looks at how FIFA found itself in such a mess, and how Sepp Blatter has potentially opened up a huge rupture in the global game. In part two, he looks at the huge logistical and structural problems that moving the World Cup will pose, and questions why no serious attempts have been made to explore these issues by those who control the game. In the final part, he focuses on concerns over the conditions imposed on the migrant workers who will help build the stadia and infrastructure required for the FIFA tournament.

Menawhile, in France, Olympique Marseille's director's son was shot dead in a suspected gangland killing. Yikes.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Gedion Zelalem, Messi Fraud, World Cup 2014, Nani For Five, Bristol Invasion

Hello! It's all a bit quiet today, which is a relief. We've been able to do some cleaning at SSN Headquarters. We've filed stacks of papers, watered the plants, cleaned the coffee pot, and hosed down the bathroom.

Let us begin with a special Podcast from Jimbo and Co. Here's what's on deck: Well, it's the start of the international break, and AC Jimbo has Barry Glendenning, Jacob Steinberg and James Horncastle in the pod to jazz up as best they can a week of World Cup qualifiers, including a patched-up England's tie with Moldova (the nation with the third-fastest internet speed in the world, it says here). Plus, we discuss Greg Dyke's bold claim that England should win the World Cup at some point in the future, and Sid Lowe gives his take on those three amigos who were reportedly involved in that failed bid for Ander Hererra. And, er, that's about it.

Ethiopia/Germany/United States
You guys know this dude Gedion Zelalem? He's the German-born son of Ethiopian immigrants who moved to the United States when he was nine. He's currently 16 and was on the bench for Arsenal during the North London Derby. It would be nice if he chose to play for the United States, but that seems unlikely. Too bad.

Sticking with the USA, the Yank Men resume qualifying tomorrow night (10 p.m. EDT on BeIN Sport) San Jose, Costa Rica. Grant Wahl is there. The Mexico clash is next Tuesday at 8pm EDT. Apparently, Landon Donovan wants to "Smell the Blood."

Meanwhile, Messi and his padre just paid five million euros in a tax fraud case. Hmmm.

For some reason we know a lot of Manchester United fans who do not like Nani. No like Nani. They will not like this, then.

No, no. The blood, not the glove.
Mesut Ozil is still garnering headlines and articles. For example

So, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers played for the first time in six years last night. Everything was going swimmingly until the final whistle. The horses arrive at 3:10.

That'll have to do. Cheerio.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Transfer Fallout, USA Women Dominate, England to Win in 2022, Sam Kelly in Argentina, Rooney Horror Scar

Wow. Our long summer of transfer nauseation is over. We can finally go back to our families and resume normal service. Before we do that, however, there is the fallout to discuss. Manchester United wanted Ander Herrera from Bilbao. They didn't get him. Sid Lowe tells us what made the deal collapse. And Phil McNulty is simply mystified at United's actions.

Meanwhile, even though they've got Gareth, they're none too pleased down in Madrid. Ronaldo is angry! Arbeloa thought it was a joke! Sergio Ramos and Sami Khedira are sad. Joachim Low has described Real Madrid's decision to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal as "incomprehensible." Yes, there's a brewing storm over Ozil!

Meanwhile, up in The District of Columbia last night, the United States Women opened a big 'ol can of whup ass on Mexico to the tune of 7 - 0. Seven to zero. Sydney Leroux grabbed four goals on the night. This team is good, folks. Really good. The depth of talent is incredible. That's 73 matches unbeaten on home soil, by the way.
Erika Tymrak lets fly for the Yanks.
Sticking on home soil, Eddie Johnson is jealous of his buddy Clint. Johnson makes a teeny tiny fraction of what Deuce is clearing these days. And he's pissed.

Power Rankings. Power Rankings?! Power Rankings.
Dear, Lord. Pay me. Your friend, Eddie Johnson.

Sorry, lost it there for a second. Raphael Honigstein is back in Germany. He says this: Henrikh Mkhitaryan shows value of keeping your transfer window clean. The Armenian is excelling at Dortmund who, like most Bundesliga clubs, did their business early and then watched the mayhem in England with open-mouthed bemusement.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, it's been an unpredictable start to the Argentine season, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Buenos Aires suburb of Avellaneda, where two giants of the local game are undergoing major changes. Sam Kelly reports.

But, enough of The Now. Let's return to the 80s for just a minute, yeah? Specifically, let's remember the ups and downs of Arsenal's 1980s deadline day deals.

And today we'll finish with our old buddy Wayne Rooney. He's got a "horror scar." Enjoy.


TSB's Deadline Day Winners and Losers

Monday was transfer deadline day. The day Sky TV's innate love of all things gaudy runs riot. Even flashier graphics, more screaming reporters and Jim White at his giddiest. All to tell us that Hull have taken a player on loan. Like watching Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke [nominative determinism, anyone?] at an awards show, but for the whole day.

Over the past few years EPL clubs have bought players the way my wife buys clothes: buying the same thing over and over again, with the emphasis on quantity rather than quality. She stockpiles mid-priced 'small tops' in the way Chelsea stockpiles attacking midfielders. But thankfully this window has seen a slight shift towards more intelligent spending. So, who did well and who didn't?

Man City seem to have learnt from the past. Last year Mancini begged for Javi Martinez but got the much cheaper and much craper Javi Garcia [maybe they thought the name would fool everyone]. This year however they've brought in some real quality with Navas and Fernandinho. That said, they still shied away from getting the absolute best. Negredo and Jovetic are good, but I'd have spent the cash on Falcao.

Liverpool have gone under the radar, but done ok. Suarez was kept, a good new keeper was brought in and Moses offers something different to their collection of midfield munchkins. However, there were some missed targets. And £18m for a defender, good though Sakho might turn out to be, in the last year of his contract, doesn't seem very moneyball.

Only time will tell if Spurs have done well. But surely the odd fan must be thinking, great, we got a fortune for Bale, but that meant Real ended up selling Özil to Arsenal. On the one hand AVB and Baldini seem to have been running around like lottery-winning Scousers, on the other, they have done some good business, especially only paying £17m for Paulinho. But where's the class? Lamela needs to live up to expectations.

Abramovich could have replaced Benitez with a chimp at Chelsea and still had a good season. All he had to do was buy either Falcao or Cavani and change nothing. Instead they've spent millions on attacking mids. They're all pretty good but are they needed? No doubt Mou will mould them into an effective team good enough to bore their way to the title. And in fairness they did bring in one world class striker in Eto'o. Unfortunately he doesn't come with a time machine.

Amateurish seems to be the word most used to describe ManU's dealings. That'll happen when imposter lawyers are involved and you pay £27.5m for a player available at £23m. Ed Woodward, their new chief exec, is hardly the new Equalizer. In a way this has only served to hide the real problem: that debts keep on crippling the club. They claim to be the world's biggest but they couldn't afford Ozil, who, according to Graham Hunter wanted to go to Manchester and would have been a perfect match.

Somehow the German is just what Arsenal needed and the one thing they didn't. The club have made a statement and they've done so with a fantastic player, perfect for their style of play. But attacking midfield is the only area that didn't really need strengthening. As at the end of last season, they're still short a top quality striker and a defender. At least a lot of dead wood has been removed [except Bendtner].

Other teams: Everton have done well, keeping Baines while bringing in Lukaku, McCarthy and Deulofeu. And they got someone to pay £6m for Anichebe. Norwich only paid £2.5m for Nathan Redmond, which is a steal. Likewise, Sessegnong seems good value at £6m for WBA [though they were the ones paying Everton for Anichebe]. Villa's dealings are irrelevant as they managed to keep Benteke. Joe Kinnear claimed he 'has the ear of every manager in the world" but they obviously decided not to listen to him. While Mark Hughes, realising that his own playing style is pretty drab and therefore fulfilling his promise to brighten things at Stoke would be difficult, has brought in the mad Marko Arnautovic.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Mega Insanity Super Post

Wow! How do we get our head around all the madness? And that's just the madness off the pitch. We're going to have to begin, of course, with the TRANSFER WINDOW! Let's all slowly inhale, arms up, hold...and slowly exhale. Good. That's better. The window is shut and we can all move on.
Thumbs up for Gareth!
You know what? There's a podcast today. Let's begin there and see what the guys think of everything. Jimbo and Co. are into all of this: On today's controversial Tuesday edition of Football Weekly, James Richardson is joined by Gregg Bakowski, Paul MacInnes and Jacob Steinberg to look back on all the last minute madness as the transfer window slammed shut. We discuss the winners and losers - and breathe a big sigh of relief that it's all over (yes, we're looking at you, Gareth Bale). Plus, we look back on some actual football, including Arsenal's pre-Ozil north London derby win, Liverpool's victory over the distinctly un-champion champions, and loads and loads of goals in Serie A. Rafa Honigstein joins us to analyse Chelsea's Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, and Sid Lowe is so hot on the scent of the imposters involved in the failed attempts to take Ander Herrera from Bilbao to Manchester United that, er, we don't speak to him.

So, the hacks consider Arsenal's capture of Ozil to be the biggest move of the day (considering Bale's move wasn't really "of the day." The always astute Amy Lawrence has a level-headed look at the new addition to North London.

Elsewhere, Manchester United finally got Fellaini, Everton brought in Gareth Barry and Lukaku, and Liverpool landed centre-backs Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori. Here's a closer look. And here are 10 things we're betting you didn't know about the BPL new boys. For instance, Craig Noone, the winger Cardiff bought from Brighton, has made it to the Premier League barely five years after tiling Steven Gerrard's roof as he combined the day job with part-time football at Southport. Gerrard's wife, Alex Curran, would provide him with a soft drink and a sausage roll to help fuel his labours. Yummmmm...sausage roll...

The Dirty Tackle has chosen to focus on United's summer transfer window bumblings.

Meanwhile, Sky gives us their Top Ten Summer Deals.

Back on the continent, after dropping £56 million for Kaka four year ago, Real Madrid let him go back to Milan. For free. And you wonder why we're banging heads on walls at SSN Headquarters.

OK, enough transfer crapola. We're done with it for now, thank God. There were actual matches over the weekend. Played on fields of green. We'll break it down quickly:

Spain: Phil Ball is there, and he's talking Atletico Madrid's attempts to break the Barca/Real monopoly. Duopoly? Sid Lowe is also over there. He's talking about the steak fighting back, whatever that means. Whatever it does mean, there was some incredible football played in La Liga, we're told.

Italy: Paolo Bandini is there and he's talking about Jersey boy Giuseppe Rossi's resurgence.

Germany: Raphael Honigstein was not there so we'll have to settle for this review.

Right! On to the big matches in England over the weekend. Liverpool beat Manchester United. David Moyes still cannot seem to get one over on his former neighbors. Richard Jolly was at Anfield.

Meanwhile, in the North London Derby, Arsenal prevailed thanks to an Olivier Giroud goal. David Hytner was at the Emirates. And here are some player ratings.

Let's hit the numbers from the weekend in the Premier League, shall we? Five Thoughts. Ten Talking Points. Good. Here's your bloody Team of the Week. And a wee review.

OK, that's about all we can handle today. Sit down, take a load off, relax...

Just because.